REDONDO BEACH — The ugly side of Hollywood sailed into King Harbor last week, staying long enough to sink the television series "Riptide" and to turn a celebration honoring the network show into a wake.
NBC, the top network in prime-time ratings this season, canceled the action-adventure series, which for the past three years has been filmed in the International Boardwalk area at King Harbor. "Riptide" finished 57th out of 64 shows in its final week in the ratings last month.
The lighthearted series featured three unlikely detectives operating from what the network billed as a "glamorous Southern California marina." It was the only network television series situated in the South Bay, and it had ranked among television's top 20 series for two years.
"I don't know what happened," said Rick Dumm, the show's associate producer. "I hate to leave Redondo Beach. It was a wonderful place to shoot. It was like being on vacation."
The cancellation came at an awkward time for city officials, who, after three years of playing host to the series with little or no public recognition of it, had decided to hold a celebration honoring "Riptide" and its producer, Stephen J. Cannell Productions.
City Councilwoman Kay Horrell, who represents the harbor district where the show was filmed, had proposed that the city hold a thank-you reception for the show's cast and production team. Horrell had envisioned a celebration complete with cookies and punch, followed by a ceremony honoring the group during a City Council meeting.
"I guess we will have to make it a going-away party," said City Manager Tim Casey, who said city officials and representatives from "Riptide" were trying to agree on a date for the celebration when NBC canceled the series. "They have been a colorful part of Redondo Beach. I am sure people will be sad they are going."
Horrell said last week that she still wants to hold the party, although she acknowledged that it won't be quite the same as she had hoped.
"I feel we owe them something," Horrell said. "They came into our community, blended quite well and did some interesting episodes. The nation came to King Harbor."
A celebration honoring Stephen J. Cannell Productions would also help get the message to executives there that Redondo Beach is interested in being the host of other television series, Horrell said.
"We want shows with a positive image, and if you noticed, 'Riptide' never made our harbor itself or our city look bad," Horrell said. "If there were any areas in the script that made the community not look at its best, they would edit them out. They were very cooperative that way."
In monetary terms, the show's departure will have little effect on the city, Casey said. The city charges just $256 a day for film permits. During the show's first two years in Redondo Beach, the city collected $16,600 in fees. Statistics for this season were not available.
Restaurants, hotels and other businesses in the King Harbor area, however, will probably feel the show's loss. Fees paid to the merchants by location managers to offset lost business caused by filming have run into thousands of dollars, business and city officials said.
"It helped sell the King Harbor area," said Ernie O'Dell, executive director of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce. "We always felt it was a positive show, and it did have some residual rub-off for business. We are sorry to see them cancel it."